Zombies are on their way out. We’ve all heard someone predict the nearing end of the popular genre at some point. Whether it’s been to our face, or whispered in dark alleys, for some reason, people think zombies are going somewhere. What we know that they don’t, is the zombie genre is only getting bigger. Never before have the undead permeated every facet of entertainment so thoroughly, from books, to films, video games, and even Detroit. There’s a lot going on right now when it comes the hungry undead and their seemingly bottomless appetite for all things human, but we’re here to touch on the video games. Read on for the definitive list of the twelve most exciting upcoming zombie games.
Also, before anyone gets up in arms about why one game is ranked higher than another, just know that none of these are in any particular order.
12. Project Zomboid
Now, technically, this Project Zomboid is already out. You can buy it right now, or you could wait for its upcoming release on Steam, where the game was recently approved for distribution, thanks to Steam Greenlight and the numerous gamers who voted for it. What sets this game apart from the sea of other zombie games is its ambition. Indie developer The Indie Stone has some lofty goals for this game, which already sounds pretty great as is. For the unfamiliar, it’s a zombie sandbox game where you’re tasked with the simple goal of surviving as long as you can. You’ll soon realize this is more difficult than it sounds once you see the incredibly intimidating swarms of zombies that are thrown at you.
The Indie Stone also has plans to add co-op (it’s currently single-player only), multiple side stories, a larger world, new systems (food, weather, etc.), and Steam Workshop support, so players can have easier access to mods.
11. Day Z
Day Z started life as a mod for Arma II, before quickly gaining enough momentum and player support to motivate Arma developer Bohemia Interactive to create a standalone game. Now, beware, because even if you fancy yourself a fan of the genre, you should know what you’re getting into before diving into this unforgiving game. Day Z is hardcore. It was created with the idea of realistically creating a post-apocalyptic zombie scenario, where even the slightest mistake can get you killed, forcing you to start over. There’s also the little issue of the other players, because you never know if that guy in the distance is friendly, or if he’s looking for another noob to shoot in the back so he can loot their corpse.
With that said, I cannot wait for this game. Thankfully, it’s been confirmed to be releasing sometime this year.
10. The War Z
It’s easy to get The War Z and Day Z mixed up, since they’re both open-world zombie games with an emphasis on player interaction, survival, and scarce resources. This one’s in a sort of beta period, where you can purchase the current version and enjoy the free updates — much like Minecraft’s approach to game development. Even though it’s technically available, this is the type of game that’s going to see a lot of change over the coming months as new content is added, mechanics are tweaked, and feedback comes in. It could look and play like a completely different game — just look at the early version of Minecraft and what it is today.
If you need help getting excited about this one, it brings with it a massive world that’s 400 square kilometers in size, and soon that will only get bigger. As an added bonus, as new worlds are added, you’ll be able to seamlessly move your character from each world to the next without losing your progress.
9. State of Decay
Originally known by the moniker Class3, State of Decay is another open-world zombie game that’s unique because it’s also coming to the Xbox 360. The previously mentioned zombie sandbox games are all (currently) PC exclusive. Much like the other games, this one has a focus on survival. This means you’ll need to find and develop relationships with other survivors, search for food, water, and medical supplies, and fortify your safe house. State of Decay also has a dynamically generating world that watches what you do and how you perform — sounds creepy, right? — so it can adjust the difficulty. This means the way you play and the choices you make will affect the game in real time.
What makes this game even more exciting is it’s basically a way for developer Undead Labs to get valuable information that will affect their next and more ambitious project, currently known as Class4.
It’s strange, but I think more people are looking forward to ZombiU than the console its launching on. Wii U identity issues aside, this looks like a fantastically creepy game. The way the Wii U’s gamepad is used is brilliant, because it transforms things we often take for granted, like say, searching through the items in your inventory, and transforms it into a genuinely intense experience. If you need to look through your survival pack, you’re going to have to look away from the screen to focus on the gamepad’s touchscreen. The same goes for other actions, like picking locks. ZombiU has a lot of potential, and it’s doing some exciting things with its competitive multiplayer, too.
7. Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z
This one caught me completely off guard when it was unveiled last month. A game that has zombies already has my full attention, but when you add ninjas to the mix, you’re practically guaranteed to have an amazing, and ridiculously gory game. This might end up being the breath of fresh air the Ninja Gaiden series desperately needs after the most recent installment’s lukewarm reception. But all that doesn’t matter, because it’s a zombie game with ninjas. Let me say that again: a zombie game with ninjas.
Be sure to come back tomorrow when I conclude this epic list with the final six zombie games you should be crazy excited for.
Missed a day? Check out the rest of the 13 Days of Horror:
Day 1: The 12 Best Weapons In Horror Games, Part 1
Day 2: The 12 Best Weapons In Horror Games, Part 2
Day 3: Our Premature Evaluation Of Black Ops II Zombies
Day 4: Why 2012 Has Been The Best (And Worst) Year For Horror
Day 5: 12 Horror Games To Look Forward To Next Year, Part 1
Day 6: 12 Horror Games To Look Forward To Next Year, Part 2
Day 7: Eight Games You Should Play This Halloween
Day 8: Dear Capcom, This Is What I Want In Resident Evil 7
Day 10: 12 Upcoming Zombie Games To Be Excited About, Part 2
Day 11: Why We Love Zombie Games
Day 11: Why We Love Zombie Games
Day 12: Comment To Win A Copy Of Resident Evil 6 And Other Awesome Swag
Day 13: Don’t Be Scared, It’s Just A Dead Pixels Halloween Podcast